, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 201-208

Begging and provisioning in broods of asynchronously-hatched yellow-headed blackbird nestlings

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Studies of begging have found a positive relationship between begging level and provisioning level. Studies of unequal nestlings, however, have found that small nestlings generally beg more but are fed less than their larger siblings. We manipulated the begging levels of yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) chicks to investigate how begging benefits individuals in broods of unequal siblings. Food-deprived chicks begged more and were fed more; satiated chicks begged less and were fed less. When we deprived each chick of a brood in turn, large and small chicks generally increased begging and received more provisioning. Small chicks, however, rarely received more food than their larger siblings even when they behged relatively more. Parent yellow-headed blackbirds increase provisioning to hungry begging chicks, but also allocate food based on relative offspring size.

Communicated by F. Trillmich